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[Vertical] Garden City

Part 1 Project 2009
Kieran Wardle
University of Liverpool, UK
Like most city centre renaissances, Liverpool’s has been centred around the young professional. Cities are diverse, energetic and enjoyable places to live. This mixed use scheme looks at bringing suburban amenities into the city centre without losing key factors such as identity, community and open space.

Faceless apartment blocks are scattered around Liverpool. Very few express the identities of the people inside and therefore very few ‘belong‘, and very few are loved. By allowing the people of the city to determine its appearance, the building has a fundamental and dynamic connection to its context. The building will change with the city and affect how the city changes. This landmark addresses the abrupt conclusion of Liverpool One and is envisaged as a catalyst for further regeneration of the former industrial quarter.

The ethos is Identity, Community and Space. With identity comes pride and with pride comes appropriation. Pride drives people to paint their front doors mow their lawns. Pride in appearance is a very Scouse attribute, an attribute which will encourage the adoption and upkeep of the ever changing façade. I believe that people should be able to stand on the street and point out their house.

The multi-functional element of the building is arranged within communities. Each community shares gardens, workspaces and other facilities. Community one may have a library, and community two may have a crèche. The arrangement of functions encourages interaction within the building. Each community of 10 apartments, a garden, and a workspace could act as a street, but only interplay between streets creates a neighbourhood.

The concrete framed tower reaches 131m and is arranged as a cluster of 5 communities. Adjustable solar shading protects the apartments from excessive solar heat gain and also shields the balcony spaces from the unforgiving winds. These louvres can be painted like a garden fence or front door and are fully adjustable and accessible. Instead of standing on a plinth, the tower sits on a sunken base which allows the site at ground level to be sculpted parkland, unobstructive to pedestrian movement as the site links the commercial and artistic cores.

Kieran Wardle

The final, semester-long project in the undergraduate programme at the University of Liverpool was for the design of a mixed-use development on a site in central Liverpool. The brief required the provision of 50 three- or four-bedroom units, a gymnasium, 10 workshop units, retail premises, residents car parking and bicycle storage. The living units were to be larger and better appointed than the developers' standard provision in response to the plethora of one- and two-person apartments from which Liverpool now suffers. The building was to promote a sustainable agenda and to respond to current Building Regulations and Health and Safety legislation.

Students were asked too use a brown-field, corner site with a large C-19 brick warehouse and a featureless, commercial hotel on the adjacent plots. Facing the site to the north, across Liver Street, is the John Lewis multi-storey car park (Wilkinson Eyre, 2005) and beyond that Liverpool One. Across Park Lane to the east is a development of suburban-scaled houses built in the 1980s as part Councillor Derek Hatton's housing programme, and there on the opposite corner, the site of the student's previous project, a Workshop Theatre. In developing this new project, the students were working in an area with which they were already familiar and responding to a building of their own design, the theatre.

Students worked in one of four tutorial groups with extra technical support in structures and construction. Each group, while following the same brief, set their own agenda with the result that there was a wide range of interpretation across the Year. The final presentation required the development of the building at 1/100 or 1/200 scale, as well the investigation of a semi-public space, such as an entrance hallway, at 1/50 scale and the provision of a technical study strip-section at 1/20.


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